Duke Energy says it is moving its official headquarters two blocks east to Duke Energy Plaza, the 40-floor office tower under construction in downtown Charlotte. The building will house about 4,400 employees and help reduces its real estate footprint in the Charlotte area, the company said in a release.
The company eventually plans to exit the Duke Energy Center located at 550 South Tryon Street and Piedmont Town Center in South Park. Once the new tower is complete, the company plans to sell its 526 Church Street and 401 College Street facilities and exit 400 South Tryon Street. The plan will consolidate the space the company occupies in the Charlotte area over the next several years with a goal of going from 2.5 million square feet to about 1 million.
The goal is cut real estate costs by $80 million to $90 million over the next five years.
The company said it plans a new workplace model where some office employees will work onsite or remotely full-time, but most office employees will have a hybrid schedule, splitting time between office and remote locations.
“We’re excited to transition our employees into the Duke Energy Plaza, where we will drive additional collaboration and innovation to deliver the affordable, reliable and increasingly clean energy our customers expect and achieve our goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050,” Donna Council, Duke Energy’s senior vice president of administrative services and real estate, said in the release. “We’re moving to a new workplace model that provides teammates with more flexibility and hybrid work options, reducing the need for the large real estate footprint we currently occupy. We remain firmly committed to Uptown Charlotte with an office tower that we’ll be proud to call our new home.”
The Duke Energy Plaza, which is a development that involves Charlotte’s Childress Klein Partners, is expected to be completed by the end of 2022. Duke has about 6,000 employees and contractors in the Charlotte area.
Duke Energy is facing increasing pressure to boosts its share price. Activist investor Elliott Management, a New York-based hedge fund, is pushing the company to take actions, the Wall Street Journal recently reported.
The company responded to Elliott’s efforts today with a lengthy response defending its performance and criticizing Elliott’s previous efforts to make changes at other electric utilities.